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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Fighting Addiction: Mario Fontes of Natural Medicine & Detox in Phoenix shares solutions for getting off and staying off harmful substances.

Aug 30, 2016 08:56AM ● By Mario Fontes

Alcohol and drug addiction is an epidemic in Arizona and throughout the country, destroying individuals and families. There are many ways a person can become addicted to alcohol or drugs, but what’s really important is the best way to help a person get off and stay off harmful substances.

Addiction can even be life-threatening so finding the right professional approach and program is very important. There are different levels of care needed for someone struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, so look for a comprehensive program with a holistic approach that includes the body, mind and spirit.

If there is private insurance or personal funds available to pay for professional care, two great options are inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs. Inpatient rehab programs may include the initial detoxification process and offer 30-, 60- or 90-day stays. When choosing a rehab center, look for one that that strengthens the immune system. Nutritional IVs and oral supplementation can help aid in recovery and lessen withdraw symptoms. Other helpful therapies are acupuncture, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, infrared saunas, individual and group counseling, meditation, yoga and 12-step protocols.

An outpatient program is ideal for someone who can’t take time away from their job or has children at home. Always choose a comprehensive program that offers nutritional support, acupuncture, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, infrared saunas, individual and group counseling, meditation, yoga and 12-step.

If there is no private insurance or money to pay out of pocket, some programs accept public insurance such as AHCCCS. Most of them are detox only and are not very holistic, but if this is an available choice, it may be the safest option.

Alcohol abuse is one of the most difficult substances to detoxify from, and seizures associated with detox are a risk. Benzodiazepine (Benzo) is also very difficult to get off of, as brain chemistry has to balance out and seizures may occur. Opiate addicts may feel like they are going to die when coming off the drug, and thus often turn to other drugs such as Suboxone for help.

Mario Fontes is clinical director at Natural Medicine & Detox, in Phoenix. For more information, visit

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